Featured in Business West – June 2011
In this article, published in Business West Magazine, I discuss why asking for a sale can be scary and provide four strategies that will help you close a sale more effectively. You can also see the original post at – businesswest.starcommunity.com.au
Let me know your favorite closing technique by posting 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the comments section below:
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Transcript of Article:
Why is closing a sale so scary?
As a sales coach I have seen hundreds of fantastic salespeople and business owners spend hours of their time with customers only to be told “let me think about it”, which has become code for “no thank you”.
This is sometimes because the product doesn’t fit the client’s needs, sometimes due to price, but most often I find it comes down to the salesperson’s inability to ask for the sale. Instead salespeople continue to talk and ask questions in the hope that the customer will eventually say: “So how do we get started?” The fact is, this generally doesn’t happen, and until salespeople learn to take initiative and ask for the sale, they will always struggle to make ends meet.
Asking for the sale can be seen as the scary part of the transaction, particularly for the novice salesperson. A good way to move through the fear is to have a few simple scripted lines or strategies up your sleeve to choose from when you can see the sale is at arm’s length. Making these simple lines just another part of your standard sales process is the key to removing the fear. Keep in mind – most prospects want you to initiate closing the sale, as it takes the pressure off them.
Picking the right close is like picking the right golf club, you must learn how to make the choice through intuition of the situation in conjunction with trial and error. The strategy you use will depend on a number of factors including: how the sales process has gone so far, the relationship you have with the prospect, how much you know about the prospect’s need and ability to purchase, and any external timelines or other factors that are in place.
These four closing strategies are simple, strong – and they work!
- The Ask Strategy – “So…. are you ready to go ahead today?”
- The Consent Strategy – “Great, if you can just put your information down here we can get started.”
- The Assumptive Strategy – “Fantastic, what we need to do now is just get your details down here.”
- The Alternative Choice Strategy – “Now, would next Thursday or Friday be best suited for me to come out and get this done for you?”
You will notice that the statements are very specific in their language. Specific questions elicit specific answers. You will find out immediately if the customer is ready to purchase. If not, remember, a no is not necessarily a no, it’s usually a request for more information, the questions will help you identify if you need to provide further evidence or if this product is not the right fit for the customer.
Your attitude during the close of a sale is crucial. It’s important that you don’t come across as either pushy or desperate but indifferent. This is not the last sale you will ever make. A customer needs to feel that you are completely confident in the ability of your product or service to solve their problem. They need to make their purchase decision based on internalizing that awareness – not feeling pushed or coerced into it.
Summary: Fear is the main reason that so many talented salespeople fail to close a sale. Have your closing strategy worked out, stick to a simple script line, deliver it with confidence and you will see rapid improvements in your ability to close.